Storm chasers welcome at Butler County’s next CERT class

03/09/2013 2:43 PM

10/09/2013 2:53 PM

Add Butler County Emergency Management director Jim Schmidt to the list of those who think it’s a great idea for storm chasers to have first responder training.

A Community Emergency Response Teams class begins Monday in El Dorado, and Schmidt wants to invite all interested storm chasers in the Wichita area to attend. The class will be held each weeknight except Wednesday and then conclude with a half-day training exercise on Saturday.

The first four classes, which run from 6 to 10 p.m., will be held at the Butler Community College Emergency Service Training Center, 2610 W. 6th in El Dorado. The Saturday class, which is from 8 a.m. to noon, will be held just up the street at EMS Station 1, 701 N. Haverhill Road.

There is no fee for taking the class.

Schmidt said he agrees with veteran storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski, who urged a standing-room-only crowd of chasers at ChaserCon 2013 in Denver last month to learn basic first aid and carry supplies that can help victims of a tornado strike.

“A number of us in the business have said for a long time, ‘These guys are out there. Wouldn’t it be nice if they knew at least basic first aid?’ ” Schmidt said. “Often, they’re the first people there.”

When he watches cable television shows featuring storm chasers, Schmidt said, he sometimes sees them “doing things they shouldn’t be doing. They’re out there in flip-flops and shorts.

“You need to be trained. You need to know what you’re doing.”

Even if storm chasers are not interested in working closely with the wounded, Schmidt said, the class can be important so they will know how to respond to dangers at damage scenes, such as downed power lines or gas leaks.

“One of the things that scares me is a storm chaser showing up and inadvertently setting off a leaking gas line or stepping on a power line — things like that,” he said.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service